Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday thought

They have lied about the Lord ; they said, “He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine. The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them.” (Jeremiah 5:12-13 NIV 2011)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Back log

Before I start excerpting from the next book, which is Diachrony in Biblical Hebrew, I think I should catch up on a backlog of posts from my draft folder. Some of these have been in there since May—that's before we moved! I kept adding them to the folder, thinking I would have time to post on them throughout the summer, but never did. Now that it is November, I've got a bit more time—at least for a week or two... So, for the next few days, watch for a real hodge-podge of stuff : )

First up, an excellent post from the nearly moribund blog Graceroots titled Grace is... Grace isn't... Not sure the table will come through correctly, but you can download the PDF here.
Grace is not...                        Grace is...
a "method" for holy living -the holy life of Jesus that indwells the believer

<idle musing>
Amen! Good preaching! Take a look at the whole chart; it's well worth your time.
</idle musing>

The way I look at bookselling

There's a bookseller's e-letter called Shelf Awareness that is sent out daily. Most of it would bore a non-bookseller to death : ) But, today there was a snippet about a store that is one year old this week. In an interview with the owner, this little thought came out:
"I don't look at someone and think, 'I'm going to make a sale.' I look at them and think, 'I know a book you're going to love.'"
<idle musing>
That's my attitude exactly. I would change the wording a bit and say, "I know a book that you really need for your current research interest." But otherwise, her approach is the same as mine. I let the books sell themselves; all I do is introduce people to them.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The difference matters--a lot

I believe that that the sine qua non of evangelicalism is not inerrancy or disputed aspects of soteriology, but rather, how one defines and expresses the evangel. Likewise, I believe in the reformation but I have to admit that Rom. 10.9-10 offers a definition of a Christian that is broader than the reformed confessions. My former Systematic Theology lecturer, James Gibson, taught a generation of ministry students that the difference between an evangelical and a fundamentalist is that evangelicals are more excited in telling you what they are for, while fundamentalists are more excited in telling you what they are against. I know what I am for, I think I know what Wright is for, and it seems to me that we are for the same thing: the advance of the kingdom of God in this postmodern world. My own sentiment is that if some bastions of evangelicalism are to prevent a slide into a quasi-fundamentalism then they need to strike a delicate balance between maintaining theological purity and a commitment to inclusiveness among those who believe the same gospel and share in the same basic theological fabric. —The Saving Righteousness of God, page 193

<idle musing>
That's the final excerpt. I fitting conclusion, I would say. The difference between fundamentalism and evangelicalism is eliding; many don't see any difference. I no longer can self-identify as evangelical—unless you qualify it so much as to be meaningless. As long as the heresy-hunters are allowed to dominate the conversation—and I would argue they have ever since Lindsell published The Battle for the Bible—there will be a continued slide toward fundamentalism.
</idle musing>


When someone tells you it is 10:25, what do you see in your mind?

I see a round clock face with the long hand on the 5 and the short hand on the 10. But, I was raised before digital clocks. I remember the first “digital” clocks; they were simply metal plates with numbers painted on them. Each minute, a new plate would fall over the preceding one. Later, when I was in college, I remember my dad getting a digital wristwatch; it was an LED one. You had to push a button to get the time; the LEDs would have drained the battery too quickly otherwise. It wasn't very shock proof either; I don't think it even lasted a year.

Now, though, digital is everywhere—even in the schools! So, what do you see when someone tells you it is 10:25? I suspect it is very age dependent...

Monday, November 26, 2012

What flows from what?

Justification is based on the work of Christ in his redemptive death and sharing in the vindication of his resurrection. Justification is not the result of the empowerment of the Spirit in the life of the believer. That does not require one to divorce believing from doing as works demonstrate the integrity of the faith that we profess. Ultimately, obedience and faithfulness are functions of believing in Christ and flow from the work of Christ operating in the believer through the Spirit. —The Saving Righteousness of God, page 183

<idle musing>
In other words, justification is the gift, our life is the outflowing of the Spirit as a result of that gift...
</idle musing>

Do we disagree?

Joseph Kelly and I were discussing (at AAR/SBL) one of the questions on his recent comprehensive exams. The question was “Which of the ten commandments relates to the environment” (do I have that right, Joseph?)? His response was, “None of them.” My response was all of them! He looked at me kind of funny, so I explained. It is a question that the ancient Israelites wouldn't have understood. The question requires a Western, post-enlightenment mindset. They would have seen everything in their life as relating to God, hence, all of them.

Joseph smiled, and replied that was the reason he answered none of them...we both believed the same thing, but we said it in opposite ways.

Language! It can be so confusing sometimes without dialogue. If we had stopped at the first statement that we each made, we would have thought that there was a major disagreement. Dialoguing revealed we both were using the same presuppositions, just expressing it in different ways.

How often does that happen in our everyday lives? Just some food for thought before assuming the worst...

Friday, November 23, 2012

How scriptural is it?

“...there is no text that explicitly says that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to believers. That does not make imputation entirely redundant as imputation constitutes a cogent (and perhaps necessary) theological explanation of the mechanism through which union communicates righteousness to the believer. Several texts speak of the non-accounting of sin (e.g. Rom. 4.8 and 2 Cor. 5.19), imputation is implicit in the representative roles of Adam and Christ, righteousness is a free gift, and the language of “reckoning” certainly moves in the direction of imputation. Nevertheless, to articulate righteousness as a status given by God wholly apart from union with Christ is to exchange Paul’s christocentric language of justification for an abstract theory based on computation.” —The Saving Righteousness of God, page 182

<idle musing>
Personally, I'll stick with Pauline language. The abstractness of imputation doesn't bring home the necessity of a changed life. I still say, no transformation, no salvation.
</idle musing>

Where has holiness gone?

Scripture says that without holiness, we won't see God. Scripture also says that teachers and leaders will be judged by a higher standard. Don't you think that should be a warning to us about how we live?

Why, then, do I find teachers who freely confess they don't believe the doctrinal statements they are required to sign? Why then do I hear people freely confessing—even bragging!—that they bribe guards to get into places they aren't supposed to? Or they bribe them to take photographs that aren't allowed? Why then do I hear teachers cussing and “damning” others with whom they disagree or who attack their position?

Where has holiness gone? That's all I want to know...I'm not saying we need more rules! Heaven knows that isn't the answer! I'm just curious why heart holiness doesn't appear to be important.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Why is it?

Why is it that people feel compelled to defend themselves rather than simply listening and dialoguing? For example, recently I was talking with someone and they brought up the current tax structure (not something I enjoy discussing). They talked about a rich friend of theirs who has left the country and is now living in Panama. He talked about the beautiful setting, the fact that it was safely behind a barbed wire fence, and that the sunrises were beautiful to see.

I commented that I had a hard time reconciling that with scripture. I asked how they could interact with their neighbors. This person immediately began to talk about how many other houses there were in the compound and how they flew back to the States regularly to interact with others.

I replied that I couldn't see Peter or Paul living like that. That opened the floodgates (it almost always does!). They began to expound on how many good works that person did. The thousands of dollars that were donated to missions in Africa, the number of missions projects that were funded by them.

I simply said that I wasn't telling them how to live. I personally felt it was unbiblical and therefore chose to live more simply, in and among the people of my community. If they felt it was a justifiably biblical lifestyle, then fine. The other person still insisted on defending their rich friend's lifestyle. But they never once cited a scriptural text or precedence—although such texts could easily be found!

So, why is it that they felt compelled to defend that lifestyle in a confrontational way? I didn't say they were wrong. I didn't say they should change. I simply said that I couldn't justify such a lifestyle biblically. I thought it was an invitation to a discussion. I was willing to be shown where I was wrong. I figured that with all the learning and education this person had that they would be able to rise to the occasion with a biblical foundation.

Nope. Didn't happen. Never has. The response is always the same. How sad. We let culture define success. We value the asphalt of heaven instead of the true treasures of heaven...

Monday, November 19, 2012


Likewise to insist that mere profession of faith irrespective of the character of one’s life and conduct is justifying is to engage in a kind of easy-believism, it runs foul of the warning of Jas. 2.14-26, and it denies the transforming power of the gospel. For Paul obedience is not a work in the sense that it makes a claim upon God (e.g. Rom. 4.4-5), but obedience is the tangible out working of faith. Faith and obedience are inseparable even if they are not completely identical. —The Saving Righteousness of God, page 177

<idle musing >
As I say so often, no transformation, no Christianity
</idle musing >

Days 2 & 3

I didn't post yesterday, so I'll run two days together (they've already run together in my mind, anyway!).

I should have taken a picture at the beginning of each day, but the piles of new releases have dropped dramatically. We've sold out of a number of them and are down to one left on several. Time and the Biblical Hebrew Verb sold out the first day except for one copy. Diachrony in Biblical Hebrew wasn't far behind.

Had breakfast in the morning with Bobby K from Hendrickson; it's always a pleasure to talk with him. We talked business some, but also caught up on all the happenings in each of our lives since the last time we saw each other in March. Their shipment of Novum Testamentum Graece got caught in hurricane Sandy and was delayed.

Sunday evening Emanuel, Andrew, and I went to dinner together. Emanuel told me to pick the place, but he wanted it to be vegan. He told me that it was his way of recognizing the years of going wherever he preferred and me never complaining about it. I chose a place called Karyn's, on the north side. He called it the "last supper" as it is probably the last meal we will have together. The food was good, but I'm missing a good home-cooked meal right about now. I've been on the road for 2 weeks and am missing Debbie and home. Only one week left, with only 2 days of that away from Debbie.

This morning, I took Andrew around to the various publishers and introduced him. It's embarrassing to hear them talk so highly of me; I don't think I'm that good. Sure, I enjoy my work and put a lot of energy into it, but I'm just a faithful servant doing my job.

I went to lunch with Ramon from American Bible Society today. It's been an annual tradition of ours to have lunch and share what God's been doing in each of our lives. Hard to believe we've been doing it for nearly 10 years now. Those years have seen both my kids get married and have kids of their own. His kids have gone through the difficult teenage years and come out loving the Lord and wanting more of him. It's been good to see answers to prayer.

Monday night is always the Eisenbrauns dinner. During the conference, we don't always have a chance to share what we've been learning, what's working, what's not, what new proposals we've got, etc. So, Monday night we all go out to eat together and talk about the show. It's pretty obvious to us that our experiment of paying the tax or paying the shipping was a success. We're not sure about the PDF experiment yet. It appears to be a success, but probably could have benefited from more advance publicity. Of course, that was pretty hard to do when we didn't get the technical details working until less than a week before the conference started!

Tomorrow is the final day and it starts earlier than the other days. At noon we tear down, which is always a fun and interesting experience. I'll be curious to see what Dan and Andrew's reactions are to seeing the dark underbelly of a conference for the first time. I'll try to get some good pictures and post them on Facebook.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

AAR/SBL, Day 1, part 2

Because AAR/SBL is in Chicago this year, we decided to bring as many staff up for a day or two as possible. Today, we had 5 extra people. Melody and Carina, two of our customer service people, Bev, one of our editors, Pam, our prepress manager, and Andy, our graphic artist, all came. Actually the first four came up Friday and spent the night. Andy caught an early train and got there a bit later.

Melody and Carina manned (personned??) the booth and did a great job. They enjoyed putting faces to the names they see every day. Bev and Pam met with people. Andy wandered around getting ideas, taking pictures (he's a great photographer), and deciding what he wanted to do differently for next year with our booth.

This year, we are trying some different things. First, we are paying the sales tax if you buy a book at the conference. Chicago tax is 9.5%, so that is essentially giving an extra 10% off. Second, if you decide to order the book at the conference, we are paying the shipping. Third, we are selling PDFs of our books. If you want the book and the PDF, we are only charging an extra $19.00—and you get the book on a 2 GB USB drive that says Eisenbrauns. How's that for a deal? And the PDF is DRM free...we call it our No Wait, No Weight sale—you don't have to wait for the book to be shipped and it doesn't add any weight to your suitcase.

Of course, we also are offering our new mug for free if you order or purchase $150 or more. If you want to buy the mug—and who wouldn't—it is only $9.95. A steal at twice the price :)

The rest of the day after my ASOR excursion was relatively uneventful. As always, I saw a lot of old friends, met some new ones, and had a good time pointing people to books that I thought would be helpful to them. That's the best part of the conference; it's all about the people and helping them find what they need.

The problem with where the conference is this year is that there is nothing in the area when it comes to restaurants. You have to drive or take a cab to everything. Tonight, we didn't want to go anywhere near downtown, so we looked for something relatively close. Someone, who shall remain nameless, found what sounded like a good place close by. So, after bidding the day trippers adieu, the remaining ones of us, except Andrew, whose wife and daughter were with him, loaded into Gina's vehicle and drove there. Turns out the place is a takeout only. No problem, so we thought. A quick Internet search revealed an alternative about a block away. So, we walked on over to what turned out to be another takeout only. Hmmm...back to the Internet. Back into the vehicle. We headed for an Italian restaurant that was nearby. Parked the vehicle, walked past a burger joint, a Subway and into the restaurant. An hour and a half wait! Not happening. So, we walked back past the Subway and the burger joint and went to a Thai restaurant that Jim had mentioned as being very good as we walked past it on the way to the Italian place.

It was very good. And cheap! Rare combinations, but welcome to our travel budget...While we were there, Dan checked his Facebook and saw that Andy had gone to a Greek restaurant before boarding the train and was having flaming cheese. Andy and I had gone to that restaurant at an AIA conference in Chicago several years ago. Unfortunately, he had misjudged his schedule and had to run to get his train before he could do more than have an appetizer. He always wanted to go back. Tonight he did...

AAR/SBL Day1, or a comedy of errors

Day one is always the most tiring day for me. I make sure I stick around the booth to answer questions that may arise. About 4:30, I usually realize I haven't sat more than about 15 minutes all day. This year was a bit different, though.

Eisenbrauns always attends ASOR before AAR/SBL begins, but we have always ended Friday around noon. This year, because both are in Chicago and we had staff coming up for Saturday, we decided to sell at ASOR on Saturday as well. Merna volunteered—or was volunteered, not sure which!—to man the ASOR booth on Saturday. The plan was to close up there around noon and then have me drive from McCormick Place to ASOR's downtown exhibit and help her pack up.

Problem: I have a "clipped" driver's license. What that means is that I have a new Minnesota driver's license coming and am still using the Indiana one with a clipped corner and a piece of paper saying that the new one is in the mail. The problem is that the paper expired and the new license came the day after I left for Indiana. So, essentially, I have no driver's license. While the probability that I would be stopped was small, that was not a chance I wanted to take! The profit margin at conferences is thin enough without a hefty fine like that to pay.

So, Gina drove me up there so I could play pack mule for the books. Commence comedy of errors. Gina assumed I knew where the ASOR hotel was; I assumed she knew. We got out of the parking ramp and she asks where we were going. I looked at her with a mystified look and said that I thought she knew. She pulled off to the side of the street while she entered the name of the hotel into the GPS. We knew it was the Marriott on Miracle Mile. Fine, the GPS sent us down Michigan Ave. No problem...except that the festival of lights was going to happen Friday evening. And there was going to be a Disney parade at 5:00 PM. And they were going to close Michigan Avenue to traffic and pedestrians. And everybody and their brother seemed to be downtown.

Fine, so it just will take a bit longer. But the GPS took us to the Marriott Courtyard on the Miracle Mile. Gina dropped me there, not knowing it was the wrong one, and went to get gas in her vehicle. So, here I am in the wrong hotel with no idea where the correct one is. So, I called Merna. The call dropped before we could say anything. That happened three times. Finally, I got through, found out that the hotel was only about a block or so away. No problem.

Once I got to the hotel, I went up to the 5th floor, found Merna and we went to get our empty boxes to pack the books in. The room was locked. No one was at the registration desk. No one with a key was anywhere on the floor...not good.

I went down to the first floor, found someone with a key, and they opened the room for us. We packed up the books and proceeded to the first floor. Now we had to contact Gina, warn her that the GPS sent her to the wrong hotel and try to get her to the correct one. We couldn't trust the GPS, though. It had sent her on a wrong path the night before as we tried to tell her where to go and how to get back to us, but one way streets downtown can be a problem...

We finally got reunited, loaded the car and headed back out to the massive amounts of traffic. We made very slow progress, and I had an appointment to choose next year's booth locations. It looked like I wouldn't make it, so I called Jim to have him cover for me. No answer. So, I called Andrew; he answered, but he and Jim both had a meeting at the same time I did. Bummer. Major bummer. If you miss your appointment, you risk losing a choice spot. Andrew did get a hold of Dan, though, and Dan said he would go. The problem is that Dan had never done this before and wasn't sure what to do...

Well, we managed to get to Lake Shore Drive and from there is was smooth sailing. We made it back to McCormick Place 5 minutes before my meeting. I moved quickly to get to the meeting. I got there only to discover I had the wrong time...I had another 25 minutes!

We got the booths we wanted.

Day zero

Day Zero is setup day. It began early, as I mentioned yesterday, with a check-in at the Truck Marshalling yard. We got the necessary paperwork and drove to the exhibit hall.

In case you've never been to McCormick place, it is huge. The road snaked around underneath to a checkpoint. The guard looked at our paperwork, wrote down our license number and told us to go ahead. We drove up a relatively steep ramp, only to find a line of trucks. I've been in lines like that before...sometimes for a hour or more. But, this one moved in a few minutes. I was very relieved to find out that all of them turned left to the South building; we are in the West building. We drove up and found the dock had plenty of open bays. We had a low back rental and they didn't have dock levelers.

I thought we might have to tear the skids apart and rebuild them on the ground—not something I wanted to do at 7:30 in the morning!

I needn't have been concerned, though. A forklift driver just lifted the skid off the back, pallet jack and all (we had brought along a pallet jack in case they were going to charge us to use theirs—you can never be too careful). Then he put the pallet jack back on the truck so we could move the back skid close enough for him to lift it off. We built a third skid consisting of the Skyline on the spot (The Skyline is the back display that we use).

Set up went the best it ever has, except for my little snafu :) We were done before 2:30, but Deo and Carta hadn't arrived yet, so I stuck around, doing the Deal-of-the-weekend—a great deal, by the way—and waited for them. They both arrived in due time and I wondered the conference hall, drooling over the books.

Last night, I went out for dinner with Emanuel (from Carta) and his granddaughter to a nice Italian restaurant. Emanuel usually tries to have a family member who lives in the States with him. The restaurant was nice, noisy, but nice. The company was delightful, as well. In a massive brain fart, I ordered a mushroom and spinach pizza, forgetting all about the cheese on it! That was the first animal protein I have had in about 14 months!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Transformation is the goal

Romans 12–15 are, homiletically speaking, the most under preached passages in Evangelical churches. This is travesty since in these chapters we find manifold resources for living out the Christian faith in a polytheistic, pluralistic and pagan world not so different from our own postmodern setting. Paul is not interested in merely imparting copious amounts of theology to the congregation in Rome (an impression you could get if you finish reading Romans in chapter 11) but seeks transformed lives and changed behavior as the result of his epistle. Any theology of Paul that focuses solely on doctrine and does not address the kind of lives he aspired for his converts to live is deficient and defunct.  —The Saving Righteousness of God, page 151

<idle musing>
Amen! No transformation = no salvation. Jesus came to deliver us from sin—from sinning! That's a transformed life—and it is all by the power of God. All—and I do mean all—the glory goes to him because all the power comes from him through the Holy Spirit.
</idle musing>

And we're off again

To AAR/SBL, that is. Yesterday afternoon, we left Warsaw with a truck full of product and display material. This morning, about 6:30, we got the necessary paperwork to unload the truck. Then we waited until 8:00 before they would let us unload.
Setup went well; we're getting more organized and better at it each year...but take a look at these two pictures. See the difference?

I had all the books set out and nicely organized—early, too. Then I realized that I had forgotten the Eisenbrauns table drape : ( I had to take all the books off, put the new drape on, and re-place the books. Of course, they didn't go back the same. I couldn't find room for one of the books and had to rearrange again.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Union with Christ means...

The exhortation to righteousness in Romans 6 is predicated on one crucial premise: the transforming power of the gospel and the new obedience created by union with Christ. Christ is the sphere of holiness, righteousness and redemption (cf. 1 Cor. 1.30) and believers are emancipated from the old age of sin and death and are uniquely empowered by baptism into Christ to live their lives in complete service to God. This thought is expressed most aptly as the indicative and imperative of Pauline ethics; because you have been united to Christ, you need not offer your body into the service of sin. —The Saving Righteousness of God, page 147

<idle musing>
Amen! Good preaching! If we are united with Christ—which we are—then we are free from the necessity of sin. Why don't we see more of it? Because a. we don't here it preached or taught and b. most people don't really believe it. After all, aren't we sinners? No! We are saints and the righteousness of Christ—at least that's what the scripture says. So, whom are you going to believe? Scripture or doctrine? Your call, but I'm going with scripture!
</idle musing>

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Calvin and works

"We dream not of a faith which is devoid of good works, nor of a justification which can exist without them: the only difference is, that while we acknowledge that faith and works are necessarily connected, we, however, place justification in faith not works ... Thus it appears how true it is that we are justified not without, and yet not by works, since in the participation in Christ, by which we are justified, is contained not less sanctification than justification."—John Calvin, cited by M. Bird in —The Saving Righteousness of God, page 111

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hmmm..Luther's right

Quod quisque timet, amat, colit, credit, hoc illi deus est [What a person fears, loves, worships, trusts—that is his God].—Luther's Works, 16:35, cited in Martin Luther's Understanding of God's Two Kingdoms, page 129.

<idle musing>
I couldn't have said it better myself. Idolatry isn't seen as idolatry by those who are worshiping an idol. We deceive ourselves into saying that it isn't really worship. We need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes...
</idle musing>


I am constantly made aware of my own prejudice of reading Paul and the New Testament via the grid of soteriological inquiry where I often assumed that the question underpinning every Pauline text was “what must I do to be saved?” A far better question to embed at the back of our minds as we read Paul (and indeed the entire New Testament) is this: who are the people of God and in what economy shall they be vindicated?—The Saving Righteousness of God,  page 109

Tuesday's thought

Remember the former things, those of long ago;
        I am God, and there is no other;
        I am God, and there is none like me.
     I make known the end from the beginning,
        from ancient times, what is still to come.
    I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
        and I will do all that I please.’
     From the east I summon a bird of prey;
        from a far–off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
    What I have said, that I will bring about;
        what I have planned, that I will do.
     Listen to me, you stubborn–hearted,
        you who are now far from my righteousness.
     I am bringing my righteousness near,
        it is not far away;
        and my salvation will not be delayed.—Isaiah 46:9-13 (TNIV)

Monday, November 12, 2012

More than forensic

Yet as soon as we acknowledge that union with Christ is forensic and issues forth in a transformed status such a bifurcation becomes a grossly inadequate generalization. Justification cannot be played off against union with Christ, since justification transpires in Christ. To be sure, union with Christ is not something that is entirely synonymous with justification. Yet neither is union with Christ an ancillary concept subsumed under justification or vice-versa. Rather, union with Christ comprises Paul’s prime way of talking about the reception of the believer’s new status through incorporation into the risen Christ by faith.—The Saving Righteousness of God, page 86

<idle musing>
Say what? What he is saying here is that union with Christ is greater than justification; it includes justification, but goes beyond it...
</idle musing>

Sunday, November 11, 2012


No, that's not the name of a new Sci-Fi novel—or some new "enhancement" drug.

Inclusio is a technical term in ancient rhetoric whereby an idea is "framed" with an opening and closing statement. In Herodotus, we call the same thing a "ring composition." Fine, you say, but how does that have anything to do with the real world?!

Glad you asked! What? You didn't? Well, let's pretend that you did, OK?

I've been thinking about the last 9 years, from the time I started with Eisenbrauns until the present. I discovered that the time is marked by a whole bunch of inclusiones (Latin, plural of inclusio—I know, technically that should be genitive instead of nominative/accusative...). I've mentioned a couple of them earlier, but we'll start from the top:

E-mail from Eisenbrauns asking me to apply for the position
Stay at Super 8 motel
Meet Jim at American Table restaurant for breakfast
Rent bicycle from Trailhouse bike shop
Return to Minnesota, rent a bicycle and the seat settles on a 40 mile ride because after adjusting the seat for my long legs, they don't tighten the seat post enough.

Nine years of wonderful stuff at Eisenbrauns, fulfilling a dream since graduate school. Our kids both get married and we end up with 7 grand kids. I get to have a greenhouse (OK, really a hoop house, but the same results).

Receive phone call asking us to assist at Sawtooth Cabins. We know it is from God, so we move to Grand Marais.
Come back to Warsaw to train my replacement and I stay at Super 8
Jim and I have breakfast at American Table
I rent a bicycle from Trailhouse—the same bike I rented 9 years earlier!
The seat settles on a 35 mile ride because after adjusting it for my long legs, the seat post isn't tightened enough

<idle musing>
I think God has a sense of humor—or at least the Classicist in me does...
</idle musing>

Friday, November 09, 2012

Incorporated righteousness

...the notion of imputation fails to grapple with Paul’s in-Christ language that gravitates more towards the concepts of incorporation, substitution and representation. Given the supremely christocentric ingredient in Paul’s formulation of justification it is far more appropriate to speak of incorporated righteousness for the righteousness that clothes believers is not that which is somehow abstracted from Christ and projected onto them, but is located exclusively in Christ as the glorified incarnation of God’s righteousness. In my judgment this term represents a reasonable description of what is happening at the exegetical level in the Pauline corpus regarding how the believer attains the righteousness of Christ.—The Saving Righteousness of God, page 85

<idle musing>
I like that, incorporated righteousness. Has a nice sound to it—and is theologically sound, as well.
</idle musing>

Isaiah on a Friday

This is what God the LORD says—
    he who created the heavens and stretched them out,
        who spread out the earth with all that springs from it,
    who gives breath to its people,
        and life to those who walk on it:
    “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
        I will take hold of your hand.
    I will keep you and will make you
        to be a covenant for the people
        and a light for the Gentiles,
    to open eyes that are blind,
        to free captives from prison
        and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
    “I am the LORD; that is my name!
        I will not yield my glory to another
        or my praise to idols.—Isaiah 42:5-8 (TNIV)

<idle musing>
And an idol doesn't have to be a physical thing. Anything that comes before the Lord is an idol. It could be work, family, kids, country (we've seen a lot of that lately!). It doesn't matter what it is...
</idle musing>

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Which kingdom?

Wonderful post today at The M Blog. Here's snatch of it:
f God is the one who "deposes kings and raises up others" (Dan 2:21), does it really matter what are the names of the current puppets set in place by God that advance both the New World Order and the Kingdom of God? Neither Herod, Pilate nor Cesar were truly important for the development of the Kingdom. That is exactly why Kingdom people do not play in the Second League, but the First, the one that matters. The one that puts the Kingdom first, and everything else-including their own nation-second.

The problem of the current commotion and insecurities arises when even the people that call themselves after God keep confusing the Kingdom of God with the United States of America. And when that happens, especially through Christians with a public voice, then we have truly lost all perspective of the coming Kingdom of Jesus Christ and the predictions he has made that will precede his coming.

<idle musing>
Amen! Do read the whole thing. It will be worth your time—and then get down on your knees, pray, and ask God to forgive us as a nation for putting the wrong stuff first. Then put God first—in everything!
</idle musing>

There and back again

No, this post isn't about The Hobbit!

As most of you know, we left Warsaw, Indiana at the end of June, moving to Grand Marais, Minnesota. In Grand Marais, we spent the summer helping out at Sawtooth Cabins. I continued to work part-time at Eisenbrauns. I also did some freelance proof-reading for another publisher—more on that at a later date (I need to get approval before announcing the project).

We closed the cabins up in the middle of October; they won't re-open until next April or May, so I had some extra time on my hands—right...Eisenbrauns needed some extra help because of the upcoming ASOR, AAR/SBL conferences. And, my replacement, Andrew, was starting, so they needed help training him as well. Long story short: I am in Warsaw again (hence, there and back again) until the AAR/SBL meetings...

I guess you could say this is my last hurrah. After Andrew learns all that he needs to know—let me reword that—once Andrew learns enough to be able to find what he needs to know (I still don't know all I need to know after 9 years!), then my time with Eisenbrauns will come to an end.

It's bittersweet. I'm staying in the same motel I stayed in when I flew down for the interview 9 years ago in August; this morning Jim and I met for breakfast at the same restaurant I met him at for that interview. Huge difference, no difference...time marches on; God has done amazing things in my life in that time. I praise him for the time at Eisenbrauns; it was always one of my dreams to work here...

Short circuit!

Evidently, becoming God’s righteousness is tied to union with Christ, not imputation. For Paul, being “in Christ” means identifying with Christ’s death and resurrection where union with him is sphere or realm of justification. Far from being “vague” the righteous status believers possess derives from union with the “Righteous One” (Acts 3.14; 7.52; 22.14; 1 Jn 2.1), who is also the very locus of righteousness (1 Cor. 1.30) and was justified upon his exaltation into glory (1 Tim. 3.16). To resort to imputation at this stage is to skip an important element. Isaiah 53 should provide our paradigm as Paul perceives justification as occurring in the one whom God has justified. Justification ensues because believers are now identified with the crucified, risen and vindicated Christ and, furthermore, believers participate in that vindication. Thus, whether it is reconciliation, justification or new creation – all are “in him”. —The Saving Righteousness of God, pages 84-85

<idle musing>
We need to re-examine our methodology. Do we interpret scripture by our theological presuppositions? Or do we let the scripture speak—even if it means we let go of our sacred cows...imputation is one of those...
</idle musing>

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Where's your hope?

From Jesus Creed
Somewhere overnight or this morning the eschatology of American Christians may become clear. If a Republican wins and the Christian becomes delirious or confident that the Golden Days are about to arrive, that Christian has an eschatology of politics. Or, alternatively, if a Democrat wins and the Christian becomes delirious or confident that the Golden Days are about to arrive, that Christian too has an eschatology of politics. Or, we could turn each around, if a more Democrat oriented Christian becomes depressed and hopeless because a Repub wins, or if a Republican oriented Christian becomes depressed or hopeless because a Dem wins, those Christians are caught in an empire-shaped eschatology of politics
<idle musing>
Read the whole thing. And then ask yourself where your hope really lies.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Whence comes holiness?

The possibility of holiness in a corrupt and perverse world derives exclusively from union with the one who himself was fully righteous and empowers others with righteousness. —The Saving Righteousness of God, page 80

<idle musing>
Exactly! It isn't in ourselves; we can never make ourselves holy. But, because it is "in Christ," there is no reason we can't be holy! I'm liking this book...
</idle musing>

Monday, November 05, 2012

What is the gospel?

To equate the gospel as consisting of the doctrine of imputed righteousness makes about as much sense as saying that the gospel is the pretribulation rapture. Furthermore, if we look at the most concise summaries of the gospel in the New Testament (e.g. Rom. 1.3-4, 1 Cor. 15.3-8; 2 Tim. 2.8) justification language is entirely absent. The gospel should be more properly related to the kingdom of God and the righteousness of God revealed in the death and resurrection of Christ. —The Saving Righteousness of God, page 69

<idle musing>
Ah, but some do. Indeed, some would say that both are the gospel...
</idle musing>

Isaiah on a Monday

Those who walk righteously
and speak what is right,
who reject gain from extortion
and keep their hands from accepting bribes,
who stop their ears against plots of murder
and shut their eyes against contemplating evil—
they are the ones who will dwell on the heights,
whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.
Their bread will be supplied,
and water will not fail them. (Isaiah 33:15, 16 TNIV)

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Further thoughts

Go now, write it in blog post for them,
inscribe it on your Facebook wall,
that for the days to come
it may be an everlasting witness.
For these are rebellious people, deceitful children,
children unwilling to listen to the Lord ’s instruction.
They say to the seers,
“See no more visions!”
and to the prophets,
“Give us no more visions of what is right!
Tell us pleasant things,
prophesy illusions.
Leave this way,
get off this path,
and stop confronting us
with the Holy One of Israel!”
Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel says:
“Because you have rejected this message,
relied on oppression
and depended on deceit,
this sin will become for you
like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
that collapses suddenly, in an instant.
It will break in pieces like pottery,
shattered so mercilessly
that among its pieces not a fragment will be found
for taking coals from a hearth
or scooping water out of a cistern.”
This is what the Sovereign Lord , the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it. (Isaiah 30:8-15 TNIV with slight revisions in verse 8)

Thought for a Saturday

Woe to those who go to great depths
to hide their plans from the Lord,
who do their work in darkness and think,
“Who sees us? Who will know?”
You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
“You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter,
“You know nothing”? (Isaiah 29:15, 16 TNIV)

Friday, November 02, 2012

The litmus test

To use reformation theology as a litmus test for theological accuracy represents a departure from the Reformers themselves and places them upon a pedestal which they would not otherwise care to sit on. —The Saving Righteousness of God, page 68

<idle musing>
And this is from a Reformed scholar! Would that some of the more toxic Reformed theologians would heed his advice! The only standard that should be final is the scriptures themselves, interpreted through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and weighed in the balance of 2000 years of theological insight. But, scripture is primary.
</idle musing>